Exploring The Wilderlands

Tomorrow looks to be another landmark moment in our shift from online gaming towards getting around a gaming table face-to-face. My good friends, ShandyAndy and Lesley, are going to have a stab at meeting with me over in Ripley – about 25 minutes from where I live in Nottinghamshire – to play a little bit of fantasy.

Talking about meeting is one thing, but the larger question was, “What do we want to play?”

In keeping with my general experimentation around easy access roleplaying in potentially deep worlds, I suggested a few ideas and the one that resonated most strongly with the players was a pitch for The Wilderlands of High Fantasy played using the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game (which is powered by GURPS). As luck would have it, this is the subject of Saturday’s forthcoming episode of the podcast… so I am part way prepped.

Easy access will come from using Doug Cole’s excellent, “Delvers To Grow” templates – in which players can build an adventurer by making just a few choices and we can get rolling in minimal time. It also dovetails nicely with my preferred aesthetic of low-powered starting characters who have the potential to become mighty over time.

Deep world comes from using the classic era Wilderlands maps lovingly recreated by Rob Conley. In the original spirit, I aim to run this as a hexcrawl and start the characters off in some backwater town from which they can explore the world for themselves. This format allows me to have a much more Open Table feel and, over time, should offer the incremental steps into depth that I crave.

As a group, with one of the players wanting to explore GURPS as a game engine some more, using the DFRPG also allows me to stay in the groove with rules I am increasingly familiar with. I aim to keep playing in a looser, “you guys don’t really need to learn the rules” style too. It’ll be a hexcrawl with the maps behind the screen, the world front and centre, and the rules supporting the play.

This is the GURPS Go-Kit developed into a specific fantasy RPG offering that is less prep for me as GM, open to new players, flexible, and very easy for anyone to drop in to if they fancy a game. Fingers crossed that we can keep meeting face-to-face over the coming weeks and months and keep this approach alive.

Game on!

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